9 Best Shop Stools (Comfort While You Work)

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Updated on November 16, 2022

Shop and garage stools come in several varieties. For some, the best shop stool is nothing more than a sturdy, simple stool or even folding chair. For many of us, we require something that’s more comfortable with plenty of padding or even a backrest.

For garage environments, it’s important the seat has an adjustable height (unless it’ll always be by the same work surface and used by the same person). You also want a stool with seat material that cleans up easily and is tough enough to prevent tearing or staining. Here’s what we recommend.

Our 9 Favorites

 ProductSeat HeightSeat WidthWeight Limit
dewalt-padded-shop-stoolDeWalt DXSTFH03030"14.0"300 lbs
best-rolling-shop-stoolPark Tool STL-217" to 22"13.5"~250 lbs
adjustable-height-stoolGearwrench 8699226" to 31"14.0"225 lbs
hydraulic-shop-stoolWorkpro W112010A29" to 34"13.8"330 lbs
sunex-shop-stool-reviewSunex Tools 851629" to 34"14.0"250 lbs
seville-classics-cushioned-work-stoolSeville Classics UltraHD24" to 28"14.0"300 lbs
big-red-swivel-stoolTorin Big Red28.5"14.4"250 lbs
craftsman-shop-stool-with-backCraftsman 6182828" to 33"14.0"~250 lbs
tall-shop-stoolFlash Furniture LF-21520" to 26"17.3"250 lbs

Shop and Garage Stool Reviews

#1 – DeWalt DXSTFH030

dewalt-padded-shop-stoolIf you’re looking for a heavy-duty stool that’ll outlast the competition, this DeWalt steel-framed padded shop stool has a 360-degree swivel and 300-pound weight capacity.

Its powder-coated, industrial steel frame includes a wire grid lower shelf for easy access to tools and is supported on rugged glass-filled nylon leveling feet. Upon arrival, the only thing to assemble is the foam-padded, textured vinyl covered seat

The wide base and shelf are big hits with consumers. The frame is quite strong and the stool is overall very sturdy. Also, the 30” height isn’t adjustable, so while it’s perfect for some, others may find it too tall or short. That said, a fixed height makes this stool feel more solid and secure than others.

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#2 – Park Tool STL-2

best-rolling-shop-stoolThis sturdy stool rides along five casters for smooth motion. An adjustable gas shock allows you to adjust the seat height between 17 and 22 inches. The seat itself is able to swivel 360 degrees and has around a 250-pound weight capacity.

Sometimes simplicity is the best way to go, and this seat provides what you need without a lot of extras you don’t need.

However, a small number of consumers have reported getting refurbished or repackaged stools, often with parts missing. To avoid that, make sure you’re purchasing from a reputable online seller and examine the product upon arrival for signs of damage or prior use. This is unfortunately common with quality products where unethical sellers try to pass off a cheap knock-off as the original.

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#3 – GearWrench 86992

adjustable-height-stoolGearWrench is known to produce quality tools at reasonable prices and their shop stool is no exception. The metal frame is powder-coated for improved durability and the padded seat is solvent-resistant.

Despite the simplistic design, the seat offers a full 360-degree swivel and has an air shock adjustable lever which allows you to adjust the seat height between 26 and 31 inches. The manufacturer notes a 225 pound weight capacity but many heavier individuals report no issues.

Assembly of this stool is quick and requires no tools. The stool is sturdy and the seat is firm but still comfortable. Outside of some consumers feeling the seat is too firm (firmness will always be affected by personal preference), the only major issue with this stool is a handful of reports that the strut fails after six months. While this isn’t a universal problem, you can opt-in for a warranty to be safe.

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#4 – Workpro W112010A

hydraulic-shop-stoolThis 360 degree swiveling stool is excellent for general tasks at the workbench or working on vehicles elevated by a car lift. The heavy duty construction will support up to 330 pounds and the stool has a padded seat measuring just under 14 inches in diameter.

You can hydraulically adjust the height of the seat from 29 to 34 inches to get that perfect height for your workbench. If you want a good, durable, no-frills shop stool, the WorkPro is hard to beat. Available in black and bright green but we expect 99% of buyers will choose the black.

Owners of this stool tend to stress the warning that you should examine the instructions before assembling. These individuals were able to put the stool together quickly and easily without later having problems during use.

Heavier individuals have also noted that the stool handles their weight well while providing a nice working height.

There aren’t many complaints about this stool, and most tend to be related to assembly issues. In some cases, the seat won’t tighten completely, causing it to lower when sat upon.

In others, the issue is more closely related to the size of washers or screws included, which might have been an error during the initial packaging and not a mistake during assembly.

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#5 – Sunex Tools 8516

sunex-shop-stool-reviewFor those of you who like a backrest, fear not! The 8516 includes a 360-degree rotating vinyl padded backrest and seat. Its hydraulic arm allows height adjustments from 29 to 34 inches of its 14″ diameter seat.

The high-polished chrome-plated metal frame is capable of bearing up to 250 pounds and is tipped with slip-resistant leveling feet.

A solid design with easy assembly, this stool further treats its owners with the ability to adjust or remove the backrest. Note that many of the complaints regarding this stool can be traced back to improper assembly.

Additionally, there have been a few reported manufacturer’s defects that got past QC, so be sure to examine the stool upon arrival for defects or missing parts.

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#6 – Seville Classics UltraHD

seville-classics-cushioned-work-stoolFor those that want a bit of freedom to move around, the Seville Classics rolling shop stool fits the bill. With a seat height that adjusts from 24 to 28.25″ inches, think of it as a combination of a mechanics creeper seat and stationary shop stool.

The 14 inch padded seat swivels a full 360 degrees and has a carbon-fiber style cover that looks great in any setting. Four 2-inch casters allow you to move to different stations or work areas and two of the casters can lock so you won’t accidentally move around when you don’t want to.

Overall construction stacks up well against the competition and this stool is a good match with one of our favorite workbenches.

The biggest negative is probably the seat. While it’s cushioned, some heavier individuals say the edges of the seat top are not soft enough and tend to hurt the backs of their legs. This is due to the seat surface being flat instead of having a slight dome shape.

Also, the casters aren’t the best quality but they can be easily (and inexpensively) upgraded with a quick trip to the hardware store.

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#7 – Torin Big Red

big-red-swivel-stoolWhen you think workshop, you don’t usually picture a bar stool. However, the bar stool design has a long history of testing under various conditions and they’re surprisingly common in shops as a result.

This particular stool is made of commercial-grade, heavy-duty chrome-plated steel capable of supporting up to 250 pounds and mounted on slip-resistant protective caps. The 14.4-inch diameter seat swivels a full 360 degrees on ball bearings and has high-density foam padding for just the right amount of firmness. A one-year limited manufacturer warranty is included in case of defects.

While the foam is high-density, it has enough give to keep it comfortable and let you sink in a little, which is good news for some and a sour note for others. It’s lightweight and sturdy as well. It does have a fixed seat height of 28.5″ so if you need adjustability, look elsewhere.

That said, the assembly instructions included aren’t very good, so you’ll need to look online if you run into issues putting the seat together. Almost all of the issues with this seat come from improper assembly Also, be warned that the seat cover is commercial-grade vinyl (and is marked as such on the packaging), despite resembling leather in some photos.

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#8 – Craftsman 61828

craftsman-shop-stool-with-backWith a look that feels equally at home in a shop or your home bar, this Craftsman hydraulic seat stool has an adjustable seat back and highly polished chrome finish.

Seat height is adjustable from 28 to 33 inches, and the feet can be adjusted to handle uneven surfaces.

Between the slip-resistant feet and durable vinyl padding on the seat and backrest, this is one Craftsman quality stool that you’ll want to use for every job!

Owners of this stool have reported using it for a wide range of tasks. In addition to normal tasks in the garage or shop, some use it for painting, cooking, and other crafts that normally require standing height.

Others have noted that it can hold more than 250 pounds with little issue. In most cases, owners report long-lasting durability and comfort.

A few customers have had problems with the hydraulics on this chair. They report that the assembly may be wobbly or a leak might form after several months of use.

The exact cause of these problems hasn’t been described, so they may be either due to manufacturing or assembly-based errors.

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#9 – Flash Furniture LF-215 Tractor Seat Stool

tall-shop-stool

If there’s one thing an artist will tell you, it’s that a good seat is just as important as good materials. This drafting stool makes an excellent elevated companion for many shop and craft tasks.

Built of a high-density polymer, the stool has a 20 to 26 inch seat height range and comfort-molded tractor seat and a 250 pound weight capacity.

Adjusting the height is easy with a pneumatic lever found underneath the seat. The contoured seat creates an unexpected degree of comfort for first-time buyers.

Unlike other work stools, there are over 15 different colors of this tractor seat stool available so not only will it work for the garage, you can use it in any room of the house.

Quite a few owners of this product are actually repeat buyers. They’ve noted an improvement in quality, with numerous previous issues being addressed. Some even report a lifespan of up to a decade since there are no issues with fabric wearing out or tearing.

There have been several issues with the backrest on this stool. Owners have noted that the rest isn’t actually affixed onto the connecting rods.

Complaints about the backrest breaking off at a specific connection can be fixed by adding a single washer, which should have been addressed long ago.

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Shop Stool Buying Guide

The term “shop stool” can be misleading. In fact, many shop stools are actually other types of stool. Let’s take a moment to look at a few of them.

Stools Appropriate for (Work) Shops

Bar Stools

Bar stools are some of the most useful stool designs out there. A swiveling seat, often with a low backrest, allows turning. The feet of the stool are padded but lack casters.

Choose this type of stool if you want something that won’t slip out from under you when you’re leaning over and applying pressure to an object. They’re also great for the workbench, as they’re usually the perfect height to slide under when not in use.

Office Stools

An office stool is pretty much an office chair without the backrest. They tend to have four to six horizontal legs, each resting on a caster. A central pillar contains a hydraulic or gas lift, controlled by an arm.

These chairs are really good when you want to simply glide around the garage instead of getting up and carrying your stool around.

Shop Stools

Shop stools in the strictest sense contain some features of both bar stools and office stools. They usually feature four vertical legs that may or may not have casters.

These legs often angle in towards the top and/or have a connecting ring upon which the seat is mounted. Some (such as the DeWalt above) also include shelves on their horizontal supports.

How to Choose a Shop Stool

As you can see, there’s a surprising variety of shapes and designs to choose from, but which one is best for YOU? The following aspects differ from one model to the next, and all of them can affect your enjoyment for better or worse.

Backrest

At first, it sounds like a backrest is something everyone needs, but you might be in for a bit of a shock if you buy a stool for its backrest. One of the factors that distinguish stools from chairs is the backrest.

Stools, by definition, either lack a backrest entirely or have one that only supports the small of your back. Anything taller is considered a chair.

So should you aim for a backrest? The lower back support can help those with posture or back issues to some degree. However, it also means you can’t just plop down on the stool from any angle.

Many stools (like the Sunex Tools model above) feature a removable backrest so you can have either depending on your mood.

Height

This is definitely a sticking point with consumers, as everyone is a different height, and getting a stool that’s too tall or short can become quite uncomfortable in a short period of time.

A simple method many use to measure their ideal seat height is to take a measuring tape and measure from the floor to the back of the knee. In the case of bar stools, this isn’t as important with a taller stool, as you’ll likely be resting your feet on the horizontal supports.

Of course, the best option is to aim for an adjustable height, but this can come with its own headaches.

Adjustable height stools can be powered by a hydraulic or gas-powered arm, or (more traditionally) a peg. Screw mounts aren’t a good idea for shop stools, as you’ll end up changing your height every time you swivel.

Seat Comfort

This is another very common sticking point, as everyone has their own idea of comfort. Just take one look at reviews and you’ll see one person say a seat is too soft, another says it’s too firm, and a third says it’s just right (yet none of those reviewers are Goldilocks, presumably).

The material used for filling, as well as the seat cover, can play a big role in comfort levels. High-density foam is the most common padding and vinyl is the most common cover. However, you can find memory foam and other padding materials, plus leather or even plastic for the seat covers.

If you haven’t already got a preference, it’s best to make a trip to a Big Box store or office furniture outlet and try out a couple seats firsthand.

Even once you’ve found the perfect combination of padding and cover materials, the thickness of the seat can make a huge difference. As a general rule, the thicker the seat, the softer it will be. This is especially true of foam padding, which can become TOO soft if there’s too much of it.

Finally, think about the size of the seat itself. You’ll want a sat that has a wide enough diameter to fit your entire posterior on. Most of the stools in our list are around 14 inches in diameter and will be fine for a large percentage of the population.

A seat that’s too wide can get in the way when you’re moving about or need to reach down for something that fell. Meanwhile, a seat hat’s too narrow will mess with your tailbone or cut off circulation to your legs with prolonged use.

You can easily figure out the size of your bottom by sitting on the floor or an unpadded bench and sticking a piece of tape along each side of your bottom. When you get up, measure the distance between the two pieces of tape and you’ll have the approximate diameter for your shop stool’s seat.

Weight Capacity

There are three important things to know when looking at weight capacity on a shop stool:

  1. Manufacturers usually downsize the max load by up to 50 pounds for safety reasons.
  2. You’ll weigh more when sitting on the stool than standing on a scale in nothing but a towel, plus your weight may change over time.
  3. The durability and life of a stool will decrease the closer you are to the weight limit, and you may have to deal with creaking or increased wobbliness as a result.

With these things in mind, always aim for a stool that can handle more than your weight. A 200-pound person will likely want a 250-pound capacity seat, for example. The heavier you are, the more important it is to aim for a higher capacity.

Wheels

Finally, we have an aspect of shop stools that you likely didn’t give a second thought to: wheels/casters. The presence of wheels are both a matter of convenience and a potential safety issue. Buy a shop stool with wheels if you:

  • frequently move between workstations
  • are using the stool on a flat surface

Do NOT purchase a stool with wheels if you:

  • are working with projects that require you to apply horizontal or angled pressure
  • are working on an uneven surface or have a lot of cords running along the floor

2 thoughts on “9 Best Shop Stools (Comfort While You Work)”

  1. After reading the Flash Furniture tractor seat chairs and seeing they have around a 10% failure I cannot see why you would even suggest that these are safe for use.

    I will not buy one of these and I am surprised there are not law suits against these chairs.

    Reply
    • Where do you see they have a 10% failure rate? It’s definitely not the perfect stool (hence it’s last on our list), but all shop stools will likely have some 1-star reviews or reports of failure. Keep in mind that far more users post a negative experience online about a product than they will a positive. If a product works well, most owners will likely never share their experience.

      But I agree, there are better shop stools out there.

      Reply

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